Magic Bullets Gain Velocity

“Scientists have recruited modified bacteria to help fight cancer, which successfully infiltrated tumors and activated the immune system to kill malignant cells, a new study reports. Tumors size decreased below detectable limits in 11 out of 20 mice that received injections of a strain of bacteria designed to be innocuous, yet able to effectively suppress the growth of cancerous masses.”
See Hijacking bacteria to kill cancer
Good news. Cancer a leading killer in our modern world, a disease which has been around since ancient times but which the best we can do often is to extend life or decrease mortality a bit. A bacterium has been engineered to thrive inside tumours while delivering a substance which inspires attacks by human immune systems, a match made in Heaven.

Many decades ago, I was involved with one early “magic bullet”, I123, a radioisotope of Iodine which was magically taken up by cancer of the thyroid gland and delivered a lethal dose of radiation with much less harm to normal tissue. In this example researchers have figured out how to do the same with a bacterium which thrives in the low-oxygen environment of tumours, concentrating the bacteria there, while delivering a protein that draws the attention of our immune response. Clever! Let’s hope this proves generally effective and makes a real difference. Such a targeted approach is likely to be easier on patients and more effective than broadband approaches like radiation and chemotherapy which sometimes do a lot of harm to the patient.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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5 Responses to Magic Bullets Gain Velocity

  1. oiaohm says:

    oiaohm, with the temperatures and fires we are getting in Australia right now, cancer is the least of our problems!
    ram global warming with increasing CO2 and other gas is a nice multi method selections of ways to kill human race.

    Temperatures cause people to want to go to beach and other locations and get more sun exposure yes increase cancer risk. Fighting fires or breathing smoke from fires also increased cancer risk. Both increased by the global warming effects.

    Then higher CO2 for some reason causes humans and animals to pack on the fat.
    This also decreases our tolerance to heat.

    So the big thing with increase CO2 levels is what one of it effects are going to do in the Human population first or will human wise up and work out how to stabilise the value first.

    Ram think of this as a hurdles race getting over the first hurdles will not allow you to win the race if you beak it into the ground on the last one. So we have to solve all the bad global warming issue in the path of humans to remain.

  2. ram says:

    oiaohm, with the temperatures and fires we are getting in Australia right now, cancer is the least of our problems!

  3. oiaohm says:

    dougman global warming where our bodies are operating in high temperature increases cancer rate of particular cancers. Of course cold also causes other cancers to grow well.

    thyroid gland cancer is more common in cold environment. Most of the cancers we treat with radioactivity are cold environment cancers. So global warming means we were about to lose a magic built against what will be the common cancers because global warming will change will is the common cancers. The bacteria solution goes after cancers that like humans in warmer environments.

    Yes some of the global warming effects are quite nasty. Yes global warming can be a global killer but its not a 1 trick pony for killing humans. Just like global dimming is not a 1 trick pony for killing humans either. There are about 10 different ways both can kill humans and a common one to both is cancer just different mix of cancers.

  4. ram says:

    There has been great progress in molecular biology and bioinfomatics. Nearly all of this research (as in the data analysis part) is performed on Linux clusters with many thousands of cores.

  5. dougman says:

    According to you, when the SHTF, global warming/climate change will become the leading killer in our modern world.

    By the way Pogsey, you never did describe this SHTF event, please enlighten us. I am thinking you are one of those peak-oil, ice-ageist types, with a smattering of Nibiru and 2012 apocalypse types. I could be wrong, but then again, all those events never did come to fruition did they?

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